KALAMAZOO (WWJ) — NanoVir LLC of Kalamazoo, in partnership with the University of Missouri-St. Louis, has announced the results of a study that characterized the mechanism by which their novel antiviral compounds to prompt cells to selectively destroy human papillomavirus DNA.

The study, “DNA Damage Repair Genes Controlling Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Episome Levels under Conditions of Stability and Extreme Instability,” published in the online scientific journal Plos One, reveals a novel mechanism of action for the class of DNA binding compounds known as hairpin polyamides. (Read the full article at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075406).

NanoVir is developing potential therapies for HPV, the primary cause of cervical cancer as well as the virus that causes a number of other cancers and disorders of the head and neck and anogenital tract.

According to the study, the antiviral compounds trigger the large scale loss of viral DNA from cells by activating a series of protein signaling pathways controlling DNA damage repair, which normally protects cells from accumulating mutations and developing cancer and other diseases.
The same pathways are increasingly recognized as an important first line of cellular defense against foreign pathogens such as viruses.

“The work demonstrates that our compounds bind and alter the structure of HPV DNA, and that this event renders the viral DNA extremely unstable and susceptible to destruction by the cell,” said Chris Fisher, senior author of the study and NanoVir cofounder. “It is important because it establishes that these compounds specifically target viral DNA and not the human DNA of the host cells.”

Participating in the study were chemists from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, including NanoVir co-founder James K. Bashkin.

“We have invented new antivirals for HPV in collaboration with NanoVir, and they are in preclinical development,” Bashkin said. “It is exciting to have a firm mechanism of action for the compounds that were prepared at the University and designed in collaboration with the NanoVir team.”

The work was supported principally by funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

NanoVir is based at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center on the Parkview Campus of Western Michigan University, where it conducts cell-biology and virology studies, while its colleagues at the University of Missouri-St. Louis site carry out the related chemistry. The firm is currently concentrating on a topical treatment that could eliminate HPV infections.

More at http://www.nanovirpharm.com.


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